• Marco Gobbetti to take over role “at a date” in 2017
  • Smith and Nephew finance boss takes over from Carol Fairweather
  • Christopher Bailey remains chief creative officer, takes on new president role

Burberry appoints Céline boss Marco Gobbetti as new chief executive in top team restructure after turbulent period at FTSE-listed luxury retailer.

The Italian takes over the chief executive role from current boss Christopher Bailey. He will take on the role “at a date” in 2017, a company statement said.

Bailey will remain as chief creative officer, a role he has held since 2004.

He took on the chief executive role in 2013, following the departure of Angela Ahrendts to Apple, but has faced criticism since, amid Burberry’s sales falling due to tough market conditions, particularly in Asia-Pacific. 

At its last update in April, Burberry’s total retail sales remained flat and its like-for-likes fell 2%. It is due to update tomorrow – analysts have predicted that like-for-likes will fall around 5%. 

Bailey is set to take on the new role of president, overseeing elements of the brand and design and working in partnership with Gobbetti on strategy.

The shakeup is not unexpected. There was talk of a new senior executive to support Bailey earlier this year.

New finance and operating boss

Burberry has also appointed Julie Brown to the new role of chief financial and operating officer. Brown arrives from Smith and Nephew, a listed global medical technology business.

Brown will arrive at Burberry early next year. She takes over from Carol Fairweather, who departs as chief financial officer after 10 years at the luxury brand. Fairweather is due to leave early next year, and will manage the handover to Brown.

Brown also takes over the chief operating officer role vacated by John Smith. He will depart the house next summer, after six years.

Gobbetti is currently chairman and chief executive at French luxury house Céline, a role he has held since 2008. Before that he was chairman and chief executive at Givenchy and chief executive at Moschino.

He will report to chairman Sir John Pearce, as will Bailey.

Pearce said today in a stock exchange announcement: “[Marco] has an outstanding track record of delivering growth in the luxury industry and his vision for the sector and how it will evolve is extremely impressive.

“The board firmly believes that these new leadership roles coupled with actions, identified in the recent business review, will significantly enhance our ability to deliver long-term sustainable growth and sector outperformance over time.”